Astragalus 10+ is a tonic prescription that has the principal aim of enhancing the immune system functions, though it can be used as a general tonic for qi, blood, and essence. Deficiencies of the immune function may be caused by chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery, by infectious agents (especially viruses), and by various stresses (e.g., environmental exposure to extremes of temperature, emotional disturbance, irregular habits of sleep, exercise, and eating). The particular herbs selected for this formula are ones that have been demonstrated by modern research to enhance immune functions. A key to successfully promoting immune functions is getting an adequate dosage of the active constituents, which include polysaccharides, saponin glycosides, and fatty acids. This formula should be taken in substantial amounts (often 5 or more tablets at a time) for the initial therapy; this can be followed up-after immune regulation is improved-with a lower dosage maintenance. Quite a few Western practitioners rely on a form of administration that is not used by Chinese practitioners: alcohol-based liquid extracts. Alcohol condenses the active polysaccharides and renders them unavailable in the finished product. Therefore, many times this method of therapy is found ineffective, but it is because the active constituents have not been delivered. A similar problem can arise from using suboptimal doses of the herbs in decoctions or tablets. Concentrated extracts of astragalus and eleuthero have been added to the basic formula to boost the amounts of these ingredients which are often included in high dosages in Chinese clinical practice. Coricepium (White Tiger) may be used additionally to increase the amount of polysaccharides provided.
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